The latest streaming service to arrive in Australia isn’t just about delivering hi-res audio to your ears, it’s about letting you buy it, too.
If you’re someone who love music in the best quality, you don’t necessarily have a lot of options.
You can look for high-res audio to buy, but the digital equivalent to vinyl isn’t always easy to find locally. There’s a streaming option available in Tidal HiFi, which we’ve reviewed in the past, and Deezer offers a similar take on the concept as well. But outside of these, there aren’t tremendous options.
In fact, while companies including Sony have talked up hi-res audio as part of their product plans for some time, finding it in Australia hasn’t actually been easy. It’s been something you can listen to for almost a decade, and yet most people aren’t exposed to it, and those who have been mightn’t be able to find it.
Whether they want to stream it or buy it, the options for Australians looking for high-resolution audio weren’t exactly large in number.
But something is launching in Australia that caters to both, as the European answer to Tidal, Qobuz, launches locally.
Qobuz’s launch has been anticipated, and now it’s here, as Qobuz offers 16-bit CD-quality and 24-bit high-res audio streaming to customers, with audio purchases available for albums, as well. The launch sees Qobuz offer its service outside of Europe and the United States, arriving in both Australia and New Zealand, focused specifically on people looking for a higher bitrate for their music service.
Think of it as a streaming service that also allows you to buy the albums if you want to in the one place, with one of the plans offering a discount for that service.
That won’t match what everyone uses a streaming service for, but if you’re the sort of person who relies on a high-res music player, a big pair of headphones, or a set-top media player and a nice pair of speakers, you probably already speak that language.
“Far from just a simple streaming service, Qobuz aims to bring music back to its true value by offering our subscribers a complete experience that respects the way the artist intends for their music to be enjoyed,” said George Fornay, Deputy CEO of Qobuz.
“We are absolutely thrilled to finally bring Qobuz to Australia, where the expectation for a high quality listening offering such as ours exists – not just amongst consumers, but within the vibrant, diverse and incredibly talented Aussie music industry,” he said.
The result is a streaming service specifically focused on 16-bit CD quality and 24-bit high-res audio, available for $24.99 per month or $229.99 per year for one person, or $44.99 per month or $429.99 per year for families. A further plan offers discounts on purchases on Qobuz, with the $299.99 Qobuz Sublime plan providing discounts of up to 60 percent on purchases through the platform. Those prices will make Qobuz one of the more expensive music platforms in the country, with even Tidal HiFi maxing out at $29.99 USD per month for a family account, which in turn sits under Qobuz’s $45 monthly family price.
Outside of the streaming, Qobuz’s Australian offering also offers the music purchases without needing to subscribe, joining ZDigital as one of the handful of local providers of high-res downloads.
Both the Qobuz store and the streaming service launch this week in Australia, however, arriving with a one month trial.